Of all the characters in this drama, I dislike the King even more than I do Lee Yi Cheom; at least Yi Cheom doesn't hide his ugliness and, or lawlessness, and that may come from having all the power that he has and wants to continue to keep but still as dirty as he fights it's not as cowardly as the King.
What I dislike most about the King is not that he doesn't have the power to go with the title, and that goes back to the nature of that era and the rule of the country at that time. He made a deal with the devil but wasn't brave enough to handle the consequences. Still, even if powerless, he should've at least had the backbone to protect his own daughter rather than blame others for not protecting her when he was the one that endangered her, to begin with, for the throne. On the other hand, the character I liked the most outside of Ba Woo is Dae Yeop.
Despite losing his one true love to Ba Woo, Dae Yeop grapples in a lonely fight to protect the Princess and Ba Woo from Lee Yi Cheom's wrath. Although at times it seemed like his father heavily influenced him, Dae Yoeop never once betrays the Princess or Ba Woo, and he even goes as far as to tell him he was in the wrong and the King was wrong right the rule of the land. Not only that, he was even brave enough to straightforwardly tell Lee Yi Cheom that they should all work towards peace in Joseon, increasingly growing into a more dependable person who strayed from his father’s overbearing shadows. He showed to be a man despite all the odds that should've turned him into a monster, and knowing that he too is of royal blood makes him into a class onto himself.
In that sense, I completely understood Dae Yeop's rage towards Lady Haeindang (Myung Se Bin) when he finally finds out that she's his mother and his aunt as he was led to believe this whole time, especially since he had been treated with such aloofness by his uncle and cousin the whole time. The hurt and anger were palatable and quite natural. The fact that he was the Prince with the true linage to the throne didn't even phase Dae Yeop speaks to the kind of man he'd become because a true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching and how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. But what I liked even less about Lady Haeindang is even after seeing how much she hurt him by keeping the truth from him, she continued to hide the fact that his uncle killed his father, and to what end, I am not sure. She may think she did it to spare him the pain, but the reality of things is that hiding the truth is the same as telling a lie.
Lee Yi Cheom is even more of a monster than I thought him to be. To go to such lengths as to take advantage of his own blood to benefit his greed for ultimate power shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did, but it did nonetheless. I knew Lee Dae Yeop was important, or he wouldn't have kept him by his side this whole time -- everything makes sense now. At this point, I genuinely want an ending where Dae Yeop remains alive. Before, I wanted him happy; now, I want him alive. I am glad he's not that typical cliched character tormented by his unrequited love. He's actually been a breath of fresh air in this drama. Watch Episodes 17 & 18 here.